The Light (ライト) is a Japanese camera using 127 film, distributed in 1940 by Sasaki Shōten, then by Tōyō Shōkai and Yamamoto Shashinki-ten.
The Light was perhaps related to with the Mycro subminiature camera: both were distributed by Sasaki until October 1940, and a November 1940 advertisement by Tōyō Shōkai and Yamamoto Shashinki-ten displays the two cameras together.
The Light is a dual-format camera, taking 4×6.5cm and 3×4cm exposures. The lens and shutter assembly is mounted on a telescopic tube.
The top and bottom plates have a chrome finish. The viewfinder is slightly offset to the left — as seen by the photographer — and is contained in a rectangular casing, with a built-in accessory shoe. A small circular depression is faintly visible at the front of this casing, perhaps meant to look like a rangefinder window. There are knobs at both ends of the top plate, certainly to imitate the layout of 35mm cameras. One of them is certainly used to advance the film, whereas the other would have no particular purpose.
The bottom plate is removable for film loading, and the back is presumably fixed, as on contemporary Leica cameras. Incidentally, the Light logo which appears on the original documents — and perhaps on the camera too — was blatantly copied on the contemporary Leica logo.
The lens is a Light Anastigmat, but it is unclear if it has f/6.3 or f/4.5 aperture (see below). The shutter is everset and has a limited range of speeds (B, 1/25, 1/50, 1/75 and 1/150). It is called Colt in the original documents. It seems that the name NEW–COLT is inscribed at the top of the shutter plate, though some documents show a Light logo instead, presumably the result of a retouch (see below).
|Announcement in Asahi Camera May 1940. (Image rights)|
The Light was advertised in Asahi Camera from March to November 1940. The advertisements dated April to June were inserted by Sasaki Shōten, whereas that dated November was jointly placed by Tōyō Shōkai and Yamamoto Shashinki-ten. The Light was also featured as a new product in the May issue of the same magazine, reproduced above. All the documents list the camera at ¥28 and an ever-ready case at ¥7. The November advertisement lists another cheaper case at ¥5.50.
|April 1940||May 1940|
|Advertisements in Asahi Camera. (Image rights)|
The advertisements dated April to June seem to show the same picture with a varied amount of retouch. The picture displayed in April has a Light logo at the top of the shutter plate, whereas that displayed in May and June has the words NEW–COLT instead, in white on a black background, and is presumably closer to the camera's true aspect. The picture dated November is taken from the same angle but perhaps shows a different camera: the name NEW–COLT is now inscribed in black on a white background, the lens bezel is silver instead of black, and there is an additional Light logo above the viewfinder casing.
|Picture of the Light in Asahi Camera April and May 1940.|
The Light logo on the left is presumably the result of a retouch.
The available documents contradict themselves on a few points. All the advertisements mention a "helicoid-style" (ヘリコイド式) camera, but the news column explicitly says that the camera is not focused by a helix but by turning the lens front element. The lens maximum aperture is quoted as f/6.3 in the advertisements and as f/4.5 in the news column. The pictures do not allow to decide for sure, though they seems to show an f/6.3 lens with no focus control at all.
The Light certainly met with limited success, and no surviving example has been recorded so far. The camera does not appear in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, presumably because it was longer in production.
- ↑ Mycro distributed by Sasaki until October 1940: Awano, p.3 of Camera Collectors' News no.274.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Advertisement in Asahi Camera November 1940 reproduced in Awano, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.274 (the caption says November 1939 by mistake).
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Column in Asahi Camera May 1940, p.831.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Column in Asahi Camera May 1940, p.831; advertisements in Asahi Camera April 1940, p.A32, and May 1940, p.A29, and advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100, and in Awano, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.274.
- ↑ Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.342.
- ↑ Advertisements in Asahi Camera April 1940, p.A32, and May 1940, p.A29; advertisement in Asahi Camera June 1940 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.100; advertisement in Asahi Camera November 1940 reproduced in Awano, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.274 (the caption says November 1939 by mistake).
- ↑ "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku".
- Asahi Camera May 1940. "Atarashii kikai to zairyō" (新しい機械と材料, New equipment and machinery). P.831.
- Asahi Camera. Advertisements by Sasaki Shōten:
- April 1940, p.A32;
- May 1940, p.A29.
- "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in Shōwa 10—40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10〜40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935—1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Pp.108—9. The Light does not appear in this list.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 290.
- Awano Mikio (粟野幹男). "Maikuro kamera (senzenhen)" [マイクロカメラ(戦前編), Mycro cameras (prewar)]. In Camera Collectors' News no.274 (April 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.1–10.
The Light is not listed in Sugiyama.